Italy’s 10 leading fine white wines

7th February, 2013 by Rupert Millar

4. Azienda Agricola Valentini, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

Valentini label copyGrape variety: Trebbiano

Region: Abruzzo

Classification: Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC

Average price per bottle: £47

Poor, unloved Trebbiano. “Bland”, “boring”, “good only for use in distillation”, it does come in for a hard time.

As ever though, when given a little attention and patience it can prove itself capable of greater things, and this is was no more aptly demonstrated than by the late Edoardo Valentini, widely regarded in his day as Abruzzo’s best winemaker.

Since 2006 the torch has been taken on by his son, Francesco Paolo, and with similarly enthusiastic reviews.

The first “Best Italian Wine Awards” held in Milan last year, named the 2007 the overall winner.

Sassicaia came third while Zidarich’s Vitovska and Villa Bucci’s Verdicchio, already mentioned in this list, came 19th and 32nd respectively out of the 160-strong shortlist.

Valentini’s Trebbiano turns all preconceptions about this grape on their heads. Apparently capable of ageing for 25 years and unexpectedly complex, it is produced in miniscule quantities.

It is said that stockists have to take a lot of olive oil if they want to get their hands on even a few bottles.

Galloni described the 2005 (92 points) in 2010 as having ripe apricots, flowers and peaches on the palate, and that it was “rich and enveloping”.

He scored the 2008 and 2004 with 92 and 90 points respectively.

Robinson added that the 2003 (17 points) would need a careful food match to counter the, “twangy fruit” and background acidity.

On a related red note, the Montepulciano, of which only some 4,000 bottles are produced a year is also meant to be wonderful.

http://www.domenicovalentino.com

10 Responses to “Italy’s 10 leading fine white wines”

  1. Raffaele Santoro says:

    bla bla bla.

  2. Vino in Love says:

    That list seems a little bit odd to me. Don’t forget about Verdicchio (some of the highest rated Italian white wines are produced with Verdicchio) , Cortese (Cortese is the grape for the world-famous Gavi) and Falanghina.
    Timorasso and Buriano are not really that common..

  3. James says:

    Won’t get that 3 minutes back. What a terrible and uninformative piece.

  4. Mila Dorosh says:

    Gaja’s Cabernet is “Darmagi!” – Giovanni Gaja’s comment on planting the vineyards with cab.

  5. Riccardo Margheri says:

    Of course, I do not pretend to know everything, but tasting hundreds of different Italian vine varietes during my work for the wine guides I collaborate with, I have never tasted a “Buriano”. If here it says that it is one of the main Italian whites, I should know about that… Nor I find any info on such topic on my books about autoctone varieties, nor on the web… If it really exist, and it is not a mistake of the article (many of its choices could be discussed anyway, as it always happens, as the SB and not the Ribolla for Gravner, or the Nova Domus and not the PG selection Vorberg for Terlano), may I get further infos please?
    Kind regards
    Riccardo Margheri

    • Rupert Millar says:

      Riccardo,
      The list is an attempt to highlight at least some of Italy’s leading fine white wines. It may perhaps have made more sense to just pick out producers that are particularly focused on white wines – but the point is to show the most expensive, which would generally imply some sort of appreciation in price and interested following of some description. Where a particular producer makes other wines (such as Terlano and Gravner’s other wines as you picked out), I have tried to make reference to them.

      Buriano is not a major variety, many Italian varieties are in no way ‘major’, the list of Italian grapes in the intro was just to show that of all the merchants I talked to, the suggestions they gave to join this list (which were extensive) encompassed every conceivable variety, big and small, that Italy has.

      I agree that the list is not perfect and open to discussion. Indeed, I hope it does provoke discussion as Italy produces some excellent white wines and I think they need greater exposure and appreciation. As you can see from the list many are incredibly well priced with regards to their quality.

      Rupert

  6. Riccardo Margheri says:

    Looks like Buriano was an ancient name used around XVI-XVII century to indicate some Tuscanian white variety. I am not able to find my Francesco Redi’s “Bacco in Toscana” copy in this moment, where the term is mentioned. But trust me, it is not used nowadays…

    • Roberto Bellini says:

      Buriano grape is used in Montecarlo area, close to Lucca. Fattoria Michi produce a 100% Buriano.
      Cheers

  7. Riccardo Margheri says:

    Believe me or not, Roberto, I see Your post only now, after more than one year (I hadn’t realised I would not have received an automatic alert about answers to my post!!). And when I made the obvious researches on the web before replying to tDB, You hadn’t published yet Your article about the Michi wines on the AIS site. Nor I have had the occasion to taste the Buriano in some Montecarlo event (maybe because the production is tiny?). Said that, and with all the respect for the Michi work, listing Buriano between the 10 Italian leading whites continues to be a little bit too much :-), IMHO of course. And if this come from the importers’ opinion, as explained in the kind reply to my post (thanks for the interest), I of course appreciate their effort to explore something brand new, but even I recommend not to stop…
    @Rupert: any effort to make evident that Italy produces great, enjoyable whites is great, so thank You!! 🙂
    Kind regards ad cheers
    Riccardo Margheri

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